Falcons named free agent fit for veteran CB

Steven Nelson Falcons

The Falcons came into the NFL Draft with clear holes on the defensive side of the ball — the first and third levels needed bolstering.

Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris overhauled one of them, spending four draft picks on three defensive linemen. The Falcons traded a third-rounder to move up in the second to land Ruke Orhorhoro, then spent a third-rounder on Bralen Trice and a fourth-round pick on Brandon Dorlus.

As far as the secondary, specifically the cornerback room, Atlanta didn’t address it at all. It’s a glaring hole on the roster right now. A.J. Terrell’s running mates aren’t clear and obvious at this point in the offseason.

The Falcons have Clark Phillips, Dee Alford, Mike Hughes, Kevin King, and Antonio Hamilton to occupy the boundary and slot positions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how the team goes into Week 1 with that group.

ESPN sees it the same way, naming the Falcons a free agent fit for veteran cornerback Steven Nelson.

Steven Nelson, CB

Best team fit: Atlanta Falcons

Last season in Houston, Nelson tied a career high with four interceptions and also had seven pass breakups. At his best when he can key inside to read the quarterback, he’s a fit for coach Raheem Morris’ scheme, which tends to be more zone-heavy. In 2023 with the Rams, Morris’ unit played zone coverage on 60.1% of opponent dropbacks, majoring in split-safety zone and Cover 3. This is a good spot for Nelson, and it’d give the Falcons more veteran competition in camp.

Thankfully, Atlanta has a need for a position that has plenty of answers on the open market. Steven Nelson, Stephon Gilmore, Adoree Jackson, and Xavien Howard are still free agents and three of them would immediately become the Falcons second-best cornerback.

It seems like a no-brainer to me, but I don’t write the checks or make the decisions, so we will see.

Photographer: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sports
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